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Almost 60 percent of California adolescents drink at least one sugar-sweetened beverage a day, and nearly half eat fast food at least twice a week. And the more fast food or convenience store options they have near them compared to grocery stores, the more likely they are to drink soda and eat junk food, according to a new policy brief from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Studies.
A majority of Californians would support a “small” tax on sweetened soda as a way to fight obesity, according to a Field Poll survey sponsored by a public health advocacy group. The poll found that 56 percent would support such a tax, with 43 percent opposed.
Modest additional sales taxes on sweetened soft drinks won’t do much to curb consumption or child obesity, according to a study released today. But higher special taxes on soda might have more impact.
California Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez (D-Shafter) has introduced legislation to tax sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages to fund childhood obesity programs.
The bill would levy a penny tax for every teaspoon of added sugar in commercial beverages sold. Florez estimates that the excise tax on beverage distributors would raise $1.5 billion annually. The money would go to California cities and schools to pay for childhood obesity prevention programs.